Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2015

The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2015 will be held from Wednesday, 29th July to Saturday, 1st August.

A preliminary programme of events will be announced in early 2015 and will be posted on this site.

We look forward to next year’s festival and hope you will be able to join us in Cork on those dates.

Cork Mother Jones Committee

Chris Mullin to speak at Cork Mother Jones Festival 2015

Chris Mullin was a member of the British House of Commons for Sunderland South from 1987 to 2010. He studied law at the University of Hull and trained as a journalist. He wrote Error of Judgement – the truth about the Birmingham Bombings, which was later made into an acclaimed drama documentary by Granada Television and  contributed hugely to the success of the campaign to free the Birmingham Six.

Chris Mullin

Chris Mullin

 

Chris was a great supporter of the late Tony Benn and regularly gives public talks and lectures about a man he holds in the highest esteem. He has described Tony Benn as a “life enhancer, a man who fizzed with ideas, who constantly questioned why the world is as it is”. For 35 years he was a friend and colleague of Tony Benn’s and edited two of his books, Arguments for Democracy and Arguments for Socialism.

Chris Mullin was often savagely attacked in the tabloid press but he continued to write, as an activist and being regularly the very first MP to be declared elected to Parliament in each general election.

In 1982 he wrote the novel“A Very British Coup” which portrayed how a radical left-wing government was destabilised by the conservative forces in the United Kingdom. The television version of this book, which made a huge impact won BAFTA and Emmy Awards and has been shown in more than 30 countries.

He has also written three volumes of his diaries, including “A View from the Foothills” in 2009 about his time in Government.

He served as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary in a number of government departments from 1999 to 2005 and was also Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee. He was the Africa minister in the Foreign Office and regarded his time in this office as thoroughly enjoyable.

Chris Mullin has lead a very varied career which has embraced political activism, defender of human rights, advocate of social justice, a sharp observer of and commentator on political events and he has also found fame as a noteworthy and acclaimed author. In addition he spent 23 years in Parliament and eventually announced his retirement in 2010. He is very much regarded as an independent thinker, a man who like Mother Jones is utterly fearless in saying what he believes in and what he stands for.

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is honoured to announce that Chris Mullin will speak at the 2015 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival which takes place in Shandon, Cork City from Wednesday 29th July until Saturday 1st August 2015.

See Chris Mullin’s website: www.chrismullinexmp.com

New book on W. Virginia coal wars from James Green

“The Devil is here in these hills”

James Green Book Cover

newly published – Prof. Jim Green’s book on the West Virginia Coal miners and their struggles

From before the dawn of the twentieth century until the arrival of the New Deal, one of the most protracted and deadly labor struggles in American history was waged in West Virginia. On one side were powerful corporations whose millions bought mercenary armed guards and political influence. On the other side were fifty thousand mine workers, the nation’s largest labor union, and the legendary “miners’ angel,” Mother Jones. The fight for unionization and civil rights sparked a political crisis that verged on civil war, stretching from the creeks and hollows to the courts and the U.S. Senate. In The Devil Is Here in These Hills, historian James Green tells the story of West Virginia and coal like never before.

 

When rail arrived in Appalachia in the 1870s, the country’s wealthiest industrialists pushed fast into the wilderness, digging mines and building company towns where they wielded vast control over everyday life—from hiring minsters to issuing their own money. The state’s high-quality coal drove America’s expansion and industrialization, but for the tens of thousands of miners, incl8uding boys as young as ten, the mining life showed the bitter irony of West Virginia’s motto, “Mountaineers Are Always Free.” Attempts to unionize were met with stiff resistance. Fundamental rights were bent, then broken, and the violence evolved from guerrilla warfare to open armed conflicts. Eventually thousands of miners marched to an explosive showdown on the slopes of Blair Mountain.

Prof. James Green

Prof. James Green

Green’s fascinating book traces this decades-long story that has been all but lost to American memory. Based on extensive research and told in vibrant detail, The Devil Is Here in These Hills is the definitive book on an essential chapter in the history of American freedom.

 

 

James Green was one of the main speakers at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2014.

Mother Jones & Her Children DVD now available

MotherJonesA3PosterLowRes-Copy

Mother Jones And Her Children is a 52 minute long documentary which outlines the extraordinary life and activities of the most famous Cork woman in America. Produced by Emma Bowell and Eddie Noonan of Cork based Frameworks Films (www.frameworksfilms.com) in cooperation with the Cork Mother Jones Committee. Highly recommended.

DVDs (€10 each) are available from Jim Nolan at 22/23 Shandon Street, Cork.
DVDs incl.package and postage within Ireland are €12 each.
Package and postage to UK, Europe or USA €14 each.
For bulk purchases, contact Jim on 086 1651356.
Send postal order or euro draft or euro cheque payable to Cork Mother Jones Committee to above address.

You can view a short (2 minute) excerpt from the film below.

 

Mother Jones clip from Eddie Noonan on Vimeo.

“Get off your knees” – the Rosemary Feurer lecture 2014

At the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2014 an important paper was delivered Professor Rosemary Feurer of Northern Illinois University.  Prof. Feurer, who had also spoken at the inaugural festival in Cork in 2012, examined the parallel activities of Mother Jones and the great Irish socialist leaders James Connolly and “Big Jim” Larkin, in particular looking at the similar paths they followed, both geographical and philosophical and conclusions they reached.

You can download the full text of Prof. Feurer’s lecture by clicking on the link below:-

Get Off Your Knees Feurer

 

 

Rosemary Feurer

Rosemary Feurer in Cork, August 2014 with the banner of Women Against Pit Closures from the UK Miner’s Strike 1984

Rosemary Feurer is Professor of History at Northern Illinois University.  She co-directed “Mother Jones, America’s Most Dangerous Woman”.  Author, she writes extensively on labour history.  Rosemary is Administrator of www.motherjonesmuseum.org website and Mother Jones Lives.  She attended the inaugural Spirit of Mother Jones Festival in Cork in 2012 and delivered the above lecture at the same festival on August 1st, 2014.   You can download the full lecture by clicking on the link below:

 

Gatherings held to honour Mother Jones

Mother Jones' burial site at the Union Miner's Cemetery, Mount Ollive, Illinois, where she lies beside the victims of the Virden Massacre.

Mother Jones’ burial site at the Union Miner’s Cemetery, Mount Ollive, Illinois, where she lies beside the victims of the Virden Massacre.

On Sunday 5th October 2014 at mid day a gathering took place at the grave of Mother Jones at the Union Miners Cemetery at Mount Olive, Illinois. After some speeches and some songs from labour singer Len Wallace, the participants raised a toast in honour of Mother Jones. Irish Whiskey from Co Cork in the form of Jameson’s Redbreast was used and there followed a rousing rendition of “Solidarity Forever” after which many of the participants returned for the annual Mother Jones Foundation dinner at Springfield, Illinois later on Sunday night.

Attended by over 200 people, this annual dinner also heard a special message of greetings from the Cork Mother Jones committee.
According to Terry Reed, one of the event organisers;
“We hope this is the beginning of many more exchanges between our two groups as we are united in telling the world of the great lessons this grand champion of the working class spoke, took action and lived”
Terry also promised a film message from the Mother Jones Foundation for the 2015 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival.
State of Illinois Senator Andy Manar attended the Mother Jones gathering at Mount Olive on Sunday 5th October. He announced at the event that the State of Illinois had approved a grant for $41,000 towards the restoration of the grave site and monument of Mother Jones at Mount Olive. Senator Manar had also sent a wonderful message of solidarity to the Spirit of Mother Jones festival earlier this year (click link to view) 
 
Already some $70,000 has been raised through the efforts of the trade union movement and the Illinois AFL-CIO thus ensuring that the full restoration of the grave site becomes a reality.

Cork Indie festival to show new Mother Jones film

As part of the Cork Indie Festival, On Sunday 19th October, the new documentary by Frameworks Films “Mother Jones and Her Children” will be shown at the Gate Cinema, North Main Street, Cork starting at 12 noon. Congratulations to director Emma Bowell and Eddie Noonan of Frameworks Films on this truely amazing account of the extraordinary life of Mary Harris/Mother Jones. All Mother Jones supporters are very welcome.
Indie Cork is a fMotherJonesA3PosterLowRes-Copyestival of independent film and music which runs in a number of venues in Cork city from 12th to 19th October 2014.   The festival champions independent film productions from Cork, from Ireland and from around the world.
For more information on the festival and the film “Mother Jones and her Children” visit www.indiecork.com or www.frameworkfilms.com